The Nervous Game

See what Pattie Fitzgerald reccommends when it comes to the nervous game. Find out what you need to know about the nervous game today!
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The Nervous Game

As we were doing this research, talking to kids about bullying and sexual harassment, they kept talking about the nervous game. Of course, we had no idea what they were talking about. Then they described a game; which in the hallways at the school, at the movie theater or the mall, that the goal of the game was for someone to stand, while someone else puts their hands closer and closer to their genitals. The goal of the game is to stay in the game as long as possible, and to show that you are not nervous or anxious. To have a high social status within the game, is to allow someone to touch your genitals. This is a game that has emerged in late Elementary School and Middle School. What we see, as professionals, we try to get the kids to understand, is it's a violation of their personal boundaries. In fact, it is sexual harassment. Just because they volunteered to participate, doesn't mean it's sexual harassment. The nervous game is something that we are very, very concerned about in our schools. Parents should be concerned because it's really putting, both boys and girls, at risk for being hurt. Many of the kids who participated in the nervous game, although publicly they wouldn't show they were nervous and anxious, they felt very uncomfortable after the game.

See what Pattie Fitzgerald reccommends when it comes to the nervous game. Find out what you need to know about the nervous game today!


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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